Pn junction Definition and 28 Discussions

A p–n junction is a boundary or interface between two types of semiconductor materials, p-type and n-type, inside a single crystal of semiconductor. The "p" (positive) side contains an excess of holes, while the "n" (negative) side contains an excess of electrons in the outer shells of the electrically neutral atoms there. This allows electrical current to pass through the junction only in one direction. The p-n junction is created by doping, for example by ion implantation, diffusion of dopants, or by epitaxy (growing a layer of crystal doped with one type of dopant on top of a layer of crystal doped with another type of dopant). If two separate pieces of material were used, this would introduce a grain boundary between the semiconductors that would severely inhibit its utility by scattering the electrons and holes.p–n junctions are elementary "building blocks" of semiconductor electronic devices such as diodes, transistors, solar cells, LEDs, and integrated circuits; they are the active sites where the electronic action of the device takes place. For example, a common type of transistor, the bipolar junction transistor, consists of two p–n junctions in series, in the form n–p–n or p–n–p; while a diode can be made from a single p-n junction. A Schottky junction is a special case of a p–n junction, where metal serves the role of the n-type semiconductor.

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  1. Mayan Fung

    I Measuring the built-in potential of a pn junction

    I am thinking about the reason why we cannot probe the built-in potential across a diode with a voltmeter. Obviously, a diode is not an energy source, so it is impossible for it to show a voltage reading. After doing some research, I found some explanations and some questions about them. 1. The...
  2. Stonestreecty

    Help with the Key Points of Zener Breakdown and Avalanche Breakdown

    Good day, all I am familiar with both of terms that I speak of in title. But I cannot find a full answer, so I might as well ask the PhD'ers here. What is really happening in Zener and Avalanche breakdown? I have read Guide to Zener Effect and Avalanche Effect and still feel confused. And yes I...
  3. Mr_Allod

    Calculating the speed of a JFET

    Hello there, I believe here I need to find the capacitance of the junction between the P-doped gate and N-channel. Then I could find the RC time constant although I am not sure if there's something more I need to find the speed of the JFET? What I'm unsure of is the depletion width h to use...
  4. Mr_Allod

    Built in Voltage of 3-Layer PN Junction

    For a normal PN junction I would try to find $V_{bi}$ by integrating the carrier density (eg. the electrons n) from one region to the other: $$\int_{n_{p0}}^{n} \frac {dn}{n} = \frac {q}{kT}\int_{V_p}^{V_n} dV$$ Which would yield: $$V_{bi}=V_n-V_p=\frac...
  5. Mr_Allod

    Depletion width of linearly doped PN-junction

    Hello there, I have derived the expressions for electric field and potential to be the ones above, then for continuity at ##x = 0## I set the electric fields and potentials to be equal to yield the expressions: $$Sx_p^2 = Kx_n^2$$ $$V_{bi} = V_n - V_p = \frac {q}{3\epsilon} \left( Sx_p^3 +...
  6. U

    PN Junction at Equilibrium

    Consider a PN junction doped with say phosphorous on the N side, and Boron on the P side. Initially, there is an opportunity for the electrons just below the N conduction band to drop to the lower available energy states just above the P valence band. This leaves the N side positively charged...
  7. Kaushik

    B How does the doping concentration affect the depletion width?

    I do not understand why that is the case. Is there any intuitive explanation for it? Thanks
  8. T

    Fundamentals of the PN Junction

    Unbiased circuit (no driving voltage source) ************** Fig 1 The N-type material has a tendency to donate electrons to the P-type (i.e. absorb holes from) across the PN junction via diffusion current exclusively within the conduction band of both materials. It does so after those...
  9. Praveen1901

    B P-N junction Semiconductors

    I'm new to semiconductors. While I was studying types of biasing in semiconductors, here's what I read - 'In forward biasing, the width of the depletion region is reduced.' Here's what I thought - Since the potential barrier is reduced in the junction due to external potential, the diffusion...
  10. Muhammad Usman

    I Physics behind P-N Junctions?

    I was reading the PN junction. During the formation of PN junction diffusion process takes place in which the free electrons cross the boundary of the P-N and joined with the holes in the P-type to form the negative ion and holes on the N side cause positive ions. So, the P-side has negative...
  11. Wrichik Basu

    Do carriers move across a p-n junction at 0 K?

    Often a band diagram is used to explain what happens when two pieces of the same semiconductor, one p-doped, one n-doped, are put together. I am a little confused about it, so here is my question. Initially and at ##0\mathrm{K}##, the surplus carriers should be confined to their respective...
  12. G

    I Relationship between the depletion region and the band gap of a diode?

    Hi, Lately I've been reading about a lab exercise in which Planck's constant is estimated using LEDs. Every procedure I've encountered states that the energy of an emitted photon (and by extension the potential across the semiconductor's band gap) is equal to the threshold voltage multiplied by...
  13. E

    I Concentration of R-G centers in a PN junction

    Hey guys, Currently taking a semiconductor device fundamentals course and we are learning about R-G currents in the depletion region of a PN junction. Usually we just consider R-G centers as impurities to be avoided in the operation of a standard rectifying diode. However, I was curious as to...
  14. T

    B Forward Bias: Why does width of depletion layer decrease?

    The depletion layer is formed by the movement of electrons from the n to p side and holes from p to n side of the diode. The layer consists of positively charged donor ions close to the n side and negatively charged acceptor ions close to the p side. When in equilibrium,the barrier potential...
  15. E

    I Double heterostructure junction in forward and zero bias

    Hi! When dealing with a pn homojunction, it is easy to see the features it has at equilibrium, and also the features it has with forward/reverse bias. Plots show the constant Fermi level at equilibrium and the different Fermi levels for a forward bias; moreover, examples show how much the bands...
  16. E

    I Built-in potential in pn junction

    Hello! The (potential) energy of an electron in a solid structure is always negative; also the E_c and E_v levels (conduction band and valence band limits) are negative, in the band diagram of a pn junction. When the junction is built and thermal equilibrium is reached, the depletion region...
  17. E

    I Diffusion of carriers in a double heterostructure

    Hello! Double heterostructures are used in LEDs and lasers to provide both the confinement of the charge carriers and the confinement of the generated light. This image is a comparison between a homojunction and a heterojunction. As regards the unbiased junctions, when the n region and the p...
  18. E

    I Pn junction to reach thermal equilibrium

    Hello! Some of the processes caused by a pn junction are not clear for me. Just after the contact between the p and the n region, a migration of charges happens in a semiconductor junction in order to reach an equilibrium condition. A valence band and a conduction band are present in both...
  19. G

    Depletion zone and current in forward-biased PN junction

    Hello. I've learned that in PN junction, forward-biasing on it pushes holes in P-type and electrons in N-type toward the junction so depletion width is reduced. Is it due to that in N-type side(P-type side), pushed electrons (holes) are recombined with holes (electrons) in depletion zone? And...
  20. G

    Depletion zone and current in forward-biased PN junction

    Hello. I've learned that in PN junction, forward-biasing pushes holes in P-type and electrons in N-type forward junctions so depletion width is reduced. Is it due to that in N-type (P-type), pushed electrons (holes) are recombined with holes (electrons) in depletion zone? And what is true...
  21. D

    Question about pn diodes and their lifetime

    I was wondering, does the lifetime of a diode depend on how long it takes for all the free P electrons to transfer over to the p holes? In other words, do the electrons that fall into the p holes ever return to the n side?
  22. Amal Thejus

    Static or Dynamic equlibrium in a PN junction?

    Homework Statement We are considering an UNBIASED junction.[/B] I've read in a textbook that electric field created in the junction STOPS diffusion BUT in the same text its written the drift and diffusion currents cancel each other. 1. Does the diffusion and drift currents occur simulataneously...
  23. Amal Thejus

    How can the neutral regions in a diode have constant potential?

    Homework Statement It is said that the potential in the neutral regions of a PN junction diode is CONSTANT. Homework Equations V=Q/4ΠΣr The Attempt at a Solution It is said in all textbooks to ASSUME that the electric field in the neutral regions as zero. Two aspects confuse me. 1. What...
  24. Amal Thejus

    ACTUAL Variation of Potential inside a diode.

    Homework Statement The figures showing the potential variation inside a PN junction normally shows the potential to be constant in the neutral P and N regions Homework Equations V=Q/4ΠΣr The Attempt at a Solution Since the potential due to the positive and negative charges should also exist...
  25. Amal Thejus

    Why there is NO current in a PN junction under equilibrium

    Homework Statement Its said that there is no Net current in a PN junction under equilibrium as the drift and diffusion currents cancel each other. We are talking about a Step junction at equilibrium. Homework Equations Its just a qualitative analysis. 3. The Attempt at a Solution [/B] The...
  26. Amal Thejus

    Variation of Potential outside a PN junction

    Homework Statement 1. We are considering a step junction at equilibrium(no external voltage applied). 2. The potential variation is shown as negative potential at P region(which is shown as constant) and increasing through the transient region to become positive in the n region. Homework...
  27. H

    Is E-field in pn-junctions changing linearly with bias?

    Hi guys, there are a lot of textbooks and articles describe the electric field in depletion region at thermal equilibium, but very few of them tell what happens to the field under bias. I am wondering if the electric field in the depletion region simply changes linearly with reverse bias? Or if...
  28. N

    Pn junction diode (series combo of voltage source and diode)

    The question is to solve the current through a resistor after a pn junction. (photo attached) As far as I'm aware the voltage source in the pn junction is (in this orientation) of opposite polarity to that of the 0.8V voltage source. From my understanding the answer goes like: V=IR I=V/R...